I learned only recently that my grandfather, Patrick Hunt played a lot of bike polo in Ireland. Yesterday i had the chance to ask him more about it, and i recorded it. So here he is talking about playing hardcourt polo in Galway in the 1930s, against his father's wishes, and the inspiration and equipment they took from the awesome gaelic sport, hurling.
I apologize for the weak sound quality, it's recorded with my cell phone and my Grandfather's voice is faltering. But most of it is clear enough.
Grandad: Just imagine that you make yourself a mallet the right length, and you're fully equipped for bicycle polo. And we played it in the squares in Galway.
Me: Oh yeah? in the squares?
Grandad: In the squares.
Me: On the cobblestones ... on the streets ...
Grandad: Yeah, outside the courthouse, amongst other places. And my father: "Never let me see you there again!"
Grandad: Well the mallets we had was very much influenced by the hurley stick. It was a soft..
Grandad: ... wooden--ash.
Me: The ball would have been a hurling ball as well? I imagine it would have broken some windows of the courthouse.
Grandad: Well sometimes... as i remember it now, it was bigger than a hurling ball would be, quite a bit bigger...
Me: And you would have three or four players on each side?
Grandad: As many as turned up! Oh yeah, we had a lot of fun.
My mother: Did you wear any equipment?
Grandad: No, no! And lots of spectators.
My mother: Oh who came out to watch?
Grandad: Anybody passing by. If my dad was around: "Didn't I tell you!? I didn't want to see you here again!". (laughs)
Me: So that was when you were much younger? Or when you were in college?
Grandad: Ah, we started when we were much younger. But it became ... much more sophisticated when we were in college, yeah. Oh yes, we were much more sophisticated.
My mother: And did you call it bike polo?
Grandad: We didn't call it polo. I think it was some connection with the Gaelic.... Iománaíocht. iománaíocht.
Me: --trying to repeat it--
Grandad: (spells it out) ... And of course, we called our weapon an Iomán.
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